Here comes the inevitable quota

I have never really believed in quotas, and I have been a professional woman for the last 40 years. I left university in 1976 with an arts degree, started to study accountancy part-time (that was hard) and worked my way up the ranks in the industry and later ‘the profession’. I have always been treated with respect and have been promoted appropriately. If I ever missed out on a job, and I did, I was prepared to accept that someone better came along. I’m completely okay with that.

But Julie Ann Genter, Minister for Women has decided that people like me need help to make it in our chosen careers. She doesn’t seem to understand that most women can make decisions for themselves. If company and state sector boards are not 50% women, it could be because not enough women chose to apply. It does not necessarily mean (as is implicit in this policy) that women are not being given these roles because of misogyny.

Nothing is going to stop her though.?Stuff?reports: Quote:

The Government has set a compulsory target that would have women make up half of the directors on all state sector boards and commmittees by 2021.

The Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter?said even representation was something the Government wanted to lead by example on.

“By making sure the public sector has equal representation at the top, we hope to inspire the private sector to lift its game.”

More than 2,600 appointments are made to state sector boards every year including state owned enterprises, conservation boards and community trusts.

According to the Government’s the latest stocktake of gender on state sector boards and committees, women’s participation last year reached a record high of 45.7 per cent. End quote.

45.7% is really good. It means that women are being appointed to these roles without interference from the government. But if you thought that, you would be wrong. Quote:

?Genter said the Government wanted to “issue a challenge” to the private sector to change their current workplace cultures and support women into leadership roles.

“Not just because that’s the fair thing to do, but also because diversity helps organisations function more effectively.

“Many men I have spoken to acknowledge the importance of diversity and are becoming champions for change. These men are helping to mentor and recruit women for leadership roles. This is essential to achieving more diversity. End quote.

It never seems to enter anyone’s head that the person taking on the role should be the best available? If quotas are introduced, everyone is compromised.

Many women deliberately seek roles that are family friendly. They may not want to be politicians, or on company boards because of the hours involved. Most women in very senior roles around the planet are childless, which is why they can do the jobs they do. But if women choose to have children, they also usually choose to be available for those children. Which means many of these high flying roles are simply out of reach.

Most women accept this though. It is a compromise they are willing to make, for the sake of their families. And of course, some women now have partners who act as caregivers, which can make it easier to pursue a career. But nothing has altered nature so far, and the truth is, if a woman gives birth to a child, she usually wants to be very involved in that child’s upbringing. No matter what compromises have to be reached.

Quotas reduce quality. Let’s say a role on a company board has come up, and the ideal candidate has applied. Unfortunately, he is a white male. The quota requires that a woman has to be appointed to that role. So, the next best person (possibly not even the next best person, but the most suitable woman)? gets the job. In what world is that sound employment policy?

Everyone knows when a quota applies. Even if you, as a woman, were the best candidate by a country mile, everyone else on the board will be looking at you sideways, believing you only got the job because you are a woman. That destroys women’s power in the workplace. It doesn’t enhance it at all.

I will buy into all this diversity claptrap once it is applied across the board. So, the accounting institute (CAANZ) must reduce the number of women accepted into the profession because there are now more women than men. Ditto the legal profession. And Julie Ann Genter must take up the battle to ensure that 50% of drainlayers and sewage workers are women and that 50% of nurses, aged care workers and primary school teachers are men. If we are going to have quotas, let’s do it properly. Let us not just cherry pick at professions that make us all look good.

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